The San Joaquin Valley’s Westside District appears on the verge of having good melon shipments this season for with improved water availability and favorable weather. A significant increase in volume is expected over last year.
For example, Turlock Fruit Co. Inc. of Turlock, CA begins it initial harvest of honeydew and cantaloupe this week. The past several years there has been a lot of fallow ground in the area, but there will be less unused farm land this year.
Melon shipments continue from the deserts of California and Arizona and will be the primary supplier leading up to the Fourth of July, when volume will rapidly decline. The transition between the desert and the Westside districts is expected to be smoother than a year ago, with no gap in supply anticipated.
Westside Produce Inc. of Firebaugh, CA is just getting started, with volume expected to increase after Independence Day.
Last year California conventional cantaloupe shipments from the San Joaquin Valley totaled 14.82 million pound cartons, compared with 2.55 million cartons from the California’s Imperial Valley and 407,000 cartons from California’s Palo Verde Valley.
Those figures were off from 2016, when the USDA reported conventional shipments of California cantaloupe at 18.74 million cartons from the San Joaquin Valley, 4.09 million from California’s Imperial Valley, and 431,750 cartons from California’s Palo Verde Valley.
According to the USDA, conventional shipments of cantaloupe from the San Joaquin Valley in 2017 were 21 percent below 2016 levels and combined conventional cantaloupe shipments from all districts of 17.77 million cartons were off 24 percent from 23.26 million cartons in 2016.
By contrast, organic cantaloupe shipments showed mixed results in 2017, with San Joaquin Valley organic volume up in 2017 and Imperial Valley organic cantaloupe shipments down compared with 2016.
The USDA reported 2017 California organic cantaloupe shipments at 406,000 cartons from San Joaquin Valley, compared with 205,000 cartons from Imperial Valley.
Organic shipments in 2016 from San Joaquin Valley were rated at 396,500 cartons, compared with 337,500 cartons from Imperial Valley.